I wasn't sure what kind of chance Joe Jacoby actually had this year to make the finalist cut, but I was feeling strangely confident. Not the kind of confidence I had just before the Dallas Cowboys game a few weeks ago...a stranger kind of confidence.
When the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced the list of 15 finalists, I watched intently, thinking I could will Joe Jacoby's name into the mix. I was wrong. I guess I used up all my powers there when I willed Katy Perry to wear that crazy tight green dress a few years ago to that awards show. Great powers...great responsibility...you know the drill.
The group of finalists that will jockey for a bust in the trophy room in Canton: Tim Brown, Charles Haley, Orlando Pace, Junior Seau, Kurt Warner, Morten Andersen, Jerome Bettis, Don Coryell, Terrell Davis, Tony Dungy, Kevin Greene, Marvin Harrison, Jimmy Johnson, John Lynch and Will Shields.
Despite my belief that Joe Jacoby belongs in the Hall of Fame, when I look at this list of finalists, I have a real hard time seeing the case made for Joe winning over enough of the room to knock some of these names down. Only Kurt Warner, Orlando Pace and Junior Seau are first-time finalists, meaning that this year gives the committee an opportunity to clear at least a little of the backlog--an opportunity they have passed by in years past.
I would have loved to have made that trip to Canton again this summer to usher in yet another member of The Hogs to the Hall. I am not sure I am ready to go back to the Motel 6 in Canton again...at some point your body loses the ability or will to fight off whatever resides there.
At some point, you have to think that the left tackle on one of the greatest front fives in NFL history will get the call to join the greats that entered before him. It would not be fitting for the road to Canton to be too easy for Joe. After all, we're talking about a guy who went from NOT BEING DRAFTED to being named to the NFL's 1980s All-Decade Team. We're talking about the anchor lineman for a unit that TWICE paved the way for the rushing record in a Super Bowl (Super Bowls XVII and XXII).
We kept the faith for Art. We will continue to keep the candle lit for Joe. You can't have a Hall of Fame without the main character from one of the greatest offensive lines of all time.